Alcoholism Symptoms and Checklist

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Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Here are the major Alcoholism Symptoms

The following is a checklist of signs and symptoms to look for when the possibility of a problem exists:

1. NEEDING To Drink Alcohol: The illness causes a person to experience a strong craving for alcohol, a compulsive need to drink. The daily schedule begins to focus on access to alcohol, and some will develop rituals to accommodate that need. They may become angry if the ritual is interrupted, or be irritable when they don’t get that first drink of the day on time.

2. Being OUT of CONTROL: People who are in the grips of this disease often find they cannot stop drinking once they start. They may isolate themselves and drink alone, or sneak a drink when no one is looking. They may hide alcohol in unusual places to make sure they have access to it. The disease can cause a person to lose interest in family, friends, hobbies and work. They may lose track of conversations, or not remember conversations from the previous day. As the disease progresses they might encounter legal problems, such as DUI, financial, etc.

3. DEPENDENCE/Withdrawal (see below this is one of the most crucial alcoholism symptoms): Once addicted, people will suffer withdrawal Alcoholism Symptoms if they don’t drink. People may get “the shakes,” become anxious, sweat, get chills, or have nausea.

4. TOLERANCE(Drinking More): More and more alcohol is needed to get “high” as the disease progresses. Perhaps they order doubles, or guzzle drinks to get intoxicated. It takes more to “feel normal” How long this takes, or how much alcohol is needed depends on the individual. The drink of preference is not the determining factor.


Questions help us to understand!

This checklist helps us to understand that alcoholics are suffering from a disease, and telling them to exercise a little willpower to overcome the problem is not the solution. They need to drink, the craving, is powerful and to the alcoholic can be just as “necessary” as eating and sleeping.

The first step in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program is admitting that:

“we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Like cancer, or heart disease, intervention is necessary to help a person through the recovery process. The first step is important because the person who has the disease is probably going to be the last person to accept that fact.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your own experience with alcohol and alcoholism symptoms, or what you may be observing in another person.

  1. Do you believe it would be good to drink less?
  2. Do you often take a drink when you wake in the morning?
  3. Do you feel sometimes feel guilty about drinking?
  4. Do you get mad if anyone comments about how much you drink?

A “yes” answer to most  of these questions does not necessarily mean the disease has set in, but does indicate the potential issue, the issue of alcoholism. If you suspect there is a problem in your life, we strongly suggest that you to get help from a professional.

If someone you love, one of your friends, someone you work with showing any of these Alcoholism Symptoms, or gives “yes” answers to the information above, you need to encourage them to seek help.


Understanding Withdrawal Symptoms

Looking forward to that first drink

It’s been a tough day and many people look forward to pouring a drink, settling down in an easy chair and relaxing. Or as one person put it, “I have a meeting with ‘Jack’ after work.” Whatever the ritual, alcohol and relaxation are paired together, as if relaxation were not possible without alcohol.

There is that temporary feeling that all is well, as the troubles of the day melt away. However, for those who abuse alcohol or are alcoholics, the flip side of that relaxing moment is anything but pleasant. Take away the alcohol and life becomes rather difficult.

Withdrawal Activates the Nervous System

According to Deborah A. Finn, PH.D. and John C. Crabbe, PH.D., alcohol withdrawal syndrome is characterized by hyperactivity of the nervous system.* People use alcohol as a means of relaxation. It is a central nervous system depressant. Finn and Crabbe explain that the hyperactivity is triggered by the brain’s attempt to “function normally despite the inhibitory effect of chronic alcohol consumption.”

Withdrawal is one of the major alcoholism symptoms; the brain thinks it NEEDS alcohol

Simply stated, the brain thinks there’s something wrong if alcohol is not present. The of the calming effects of the alcohol turn into opposite reactions. The person can become agitated and anxious, and they crave a drink to feel better. In medical terms, the alcohol-induced cycle neuronal inhibition and excitation is taking place.

Once depressed, the central nervous system becomes over activated. You’ve heard of seeing “pink elephants” when a person is coming down off of alcohol. This is a visual disturbance, and audio disturbances are also common. The person might develop a headache and feel sick, like an extreme hangover. The severity of these symptoms are dependent on the individual. For those experiencing withdrawal, there is often the craving for a drink to rid themselves of the discomfort.

Hangover first signs of withdrawal

A hangover for most people is just a mild form of alcohol withdrawal. For the chronic drinker, the alcoholic, the symptoms can be much more severe.

Coming off of alcohol can be uncomfortable, as the hallucinations, or delirium tremens usually occur between 48 and 72 hours after taking the last drink. People can become disoriented. Worse yet, some have experienced heart attacks and grand mal seizures, leading to death in a small percentage of people.

Alcohol withdrawal is a difficult battle

Alcohol withdrawal, even for people who are highly motivated, can be a true battle for health and well being. If a withdrawal is not treated, it could lead to more severe withdrawals in the future. Therefore, withdrawal and detoxification should have a medical component, as management of the symptoms is needed.

Withdrawal Symptoms is the major stumbling block in treatment, because the alcoholic’s brain is craving the alcohol to get back to “normal.” It is possible to go through detoxification without the agony of the withdrawal symptoms, as medical treatment is available. Patients can go into treatment without having to suffer the extreme discomfort, or worry about the life-threatening consequences.

Medicines to assist in this process have helped restore normal brain function, and allow people to move to the next step in the treatment process. By easing the detoxification and withdrawal process, the chances for success in treatment are greatly enhanced.

We are body, mind and spirit. The medical has made great strides in treating the body and mind, making successful treatment and recovery more probability than possibility. There is always the possibility, however, of relapse. The spirit needs treatment in recovery. The elimination of pain and discomfort is huge in freeing the spirit.

*For the entire article by Finn and Crabbe, go to http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh21-2/149.pdf


Try to catch Alcoholism early; look for alcoholism symptoms!

Like any other disease, if Alcoholism Symptoms are caught early, the long-term chances for recovery are improved. Catch the problem before it causes serious health problems, broken marriages, destroyed relationships, legal entanglements, and even death. For the person suffering from the effects of the disease, it’s very difficult to be objective about what is really happening to them. Intervention is important, never give in to it but also never give up.

If you are watching alcohol harm someone you know, do not be afraid to be the “bad guy.” Intervene, seek help, and speak up. You may just save a life.


Visit our home page for more information about Alcoholism Symptoms or return to the About Alcoholism section on this site.


and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8






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